Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge has been appointed to the Judicial Conference of Illinois for another term and has been assigned to serve on the Civil Justice Committee as well as its Technology Committee.
The conference is made up of 82 judges from across the state. It is responsible for identifying areas for improvement in the justice system of Illinois and for presenting recommendations to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“I think it’s progressive on the part of the Supreme Court to encourage participation across the state from small, medium, and large counties and obtain perspectives from sitting judges on what we can do better,” Mudge said.
The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Mudge to the Conference on Dec.31 for a three year term. He has served in the Judicial Conference since 2012.
Members of the conference serve on committees that are responsible for formulating recommendations in particular areas of interest. Mudge has served on the Tech Committee, formerly known as the Automation and Technology Committee, for several terms. This is the second time he has served on the Civil Justice Committee.
“The focus is on procedural fairness and doing what we can to make the courts accessible to everyone,” he said.
The committee meets in Chicago at the discretion of the chairperson, usually between quarterly and monthly. To avoid incurring expense on the tax payer for his travel, Mudge attends these meetings via conference call. The next meeting of the Civil Justice Committee will be Feb. 26.
Some recent issues the committee has considered include the development of standardized forms to simplify court procedures, providing language access services and support, and introducing less lawyer and court-intensive solutions to legal problems.
“We get information from across the country to see what best practices there are in other jurisdictions and whether or not it’s something we want to do here,” Mudge said.
The judges talk to members of the public and are encouraged to contribute their own thoughts based on their experience in law, he said.
After issues are discussed and voted upon within the specialized committee, recommendations are presented both orally and in writing to the Executive Committee, composed of the chief justice and 14 members of the Judicial Conference. The Committee then presents these recommendations to the Supreme Court.
After working 16 years in private practice, Mudge served as assistant State’s Attorney for Madison County and then as elected State’s Attorney. He was first elected circuit judge for the Third Judicial Circuit in 2010 and is running for retention in November. He is past chair of the U.S. Senate Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District of Illinois. He also served on the board of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in Chicago.
Mudge said he is honored to serve on the committee and in the Judicial Conference.
“We owe it to the citizens that we serve to always strive to do our jobs better,” he said.